tonight on "nightline," breaking news. as we come on air, major bursts of gun fire ring out from liberation square. after a day of camel riding thugs, molotov cocktails, rocks as missiles and pitched fighting, christiane amanpour has the inside story of a protest turned into a war zone, and how she became a target. the storm that ate chicago. 1,000 cars stranded overnight on lake shore drive and a huge city known for winter toughness grinds to a halt. we'll show you what the third-largest blizzard in history looks like up close. and, the tae of jeff. audiences know him as a country crooner, a sci-fi prisoner and now a drunken marshall.
but through it all the dude abides. jeff bridges joins us for the "nightline" interview. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," february 2nd, 2011. >> good evening, i'm bill weir. and we do have breaking news tonight from cairo, where after a day of unprecedented violence, the night gives way to armed chaos. the egyptian military stood neutral as pro and anti-mubarak crowd crowds fought. but how will they respond now that bullets are flying through liberation square? it is the most frightening moment yet. and christiane amanpour is on the scene with the latest. christiane? >> reporter: bill, good morning. it has been a very, very ugly night and could shape up to be an even uglier day. this after violent protests all
day yesterday. it's quieter now, as dawn is breaking and people now are pouring into the square but for at least two hours in the pre-dawn hours, there was heavy shooting into the protesters and into that square where women and children also have been all night. we have reports from people who we've contacted in the square of the army at one point firing into the air and saying, please hold your fire, for the love of egypt. this after a full day of pitched battles turning liberation square into something of a war zone, as people fought for control of that piece of territory and also for political control. this was the day that a largely peaceful uprising took a dark and violent turn. if it began as a spontaneous eruption, it ended up looking like deliberately orchestrated political theater. planned and organized by
pro-mubarak forces, taking place on the world's stage with live cameras looking on. it started with a group of pro-mubarak demonstrators shouting angrily, "he's not leaving," making their way towards the anti-mubarak protesters assembled in liberation square. they streamed in on foot along the nile and even floated down it. we were standing on a nearby roof top watching as their numbers exploded. and suddenly, this. almost medieval sight. men riding horses and camels, galloping in, charging the crowd and cracking their whips. soon, this square was a battleground, and it raged on for hours. rocks were hurled from both sides. there were looky beatings and molotov cocktails tossed into the crowd. some were likely genuine mubarak supporters. but others clearly thugs sent in
as agitators. each time the pro-mubarak forces charged them, the protesters fell back and then started inching forward again. all around this historic square, even in front of the egyptian antiquities museum, people began ripping up pavement and turning it into weapons. at least three were killed and hundreds more were injured. a mosque has been turned into a field hospital. in the end, the protesters managed to keep control of their square and the political high ground. but the battle lines were redrawn after mubarak's supporters tried to steal their victory. and we found ourselves on a dangerous side of this fight. we returned to find out what's going on at the end of the day at the square and very menacing messages were directed our way. don't go there, don't take your
camera or else you'll meet your destiny. an angry mob of pro-mubarak supporters surrounded us. >> we hate america, we hate any country more. okay? go to any place now. >> reporter: you want us to go? >> yes, i want you to go from here. >> reporter: why? >> because we hate you. we hate america. >> reporter: you hate us? >> yes, i hate you and i hate you. >> reporter: why do you hate us? >> you are not good person. go to any play more, please, go to any place more. you are not with us. >> reporter: okay, okay. they kicked in the car doors and broke our windshields as we drove off. we left that angry crowd and got into our car, they forced us into our car. and as we started to drive off, they hit the car with their fists over and over again and threw a rock through the front window. the glass is shattered all over our driver. are you okay? did they hurt you? >> no. >> reporter: did they hit you? >> no, no. >> reporter: you did a good job.
you did a good job getting us out of there. are you okay? >> yes, i'm okay. >> reporter: glass? glass? >> everything is okay. >> reporter: okay. >> and -- we're intact. it's good. anyway, i want to talk with you. >> reporter: come and talk upstairs. come and have a cup of coffee. this morning, it had been a far different scene. the day had begun with some good news. the internet was restored after a six-day blackout. and the curfew was being shortened. the atmosphere in tahrir square the day after is very different. the crowds are thinner, but the signs are still saying "game over." the question is, then, how much will be enough? and after finally forcing major concessions from their president, these protesters found themselves with mixed emotions. >> we feel very bad. we feel deceived. it is a very bad feeling.
>> reporter: you're crying. >> yeah, it feels very bad that the people are deceived now. he managed to deceive us off. >> reporter: how do you mean deceived? >> his speech, everything. there's something underlying behind the speech. we can't understand what he wants really and i feel he's trying to let people empathize with him and it's very bad. >> reporter: what did you say? >> he's trying to play with us. he's trying to do a game. a game. >> reporter: many were still frustrated, feeling that mubarak should leave immediately. >> he should go out of egypt. >> he's a dictator. he should go right now. >> reporter: the big banner demanding the removal of the regime is still hanging. for a lot of people, what mubarak said still isn't enough. others wanted to allow him a dignified exit. and your sign says, we represent your history but it's over. >> yes ma'am. >> reporter: what do you feel has happened here in the last week? >> a dream. it's a dream.
>> revolution. >> revolution. a dream that i never -- the greatest dreams i could have never dreamt of this. i'm protesting for the bad things but grateful for the good things. there's a lot of bad things, it's not supposed to say for 30 years, we need a change, of course, but it would be unrespectful if i didn't respect what he did. >> reporter: around 4:00 a.m., heavy gun fire erupted and the clash has taken on a sinister turn. and as dawn breaks, there are calls for egyptians to come to the square to help the demonstrators. >> reporter: people are pouring into the square. they are moving around burning vehicles and that is what we can smell from here, arid smoke right now. and we will wait to see how this day develops. bill? >> christiane amanpour in cairo. stay safe and thanks for that
report. when we come back, we shift our focus stateside. 1,000 cars stranded on chicago's lake shore drive. how one gigantic storm shut down a city that is no stranger to winter. [ male announcer ] learn about a free trial offer from abilify. if you're taking an antidepressant and still feel depressed, one option your doctor may consider is adding abilify. abilify treats depression in adults when added to an antidepressant.
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here is chris bury, still out in that snow, with our report. >> reporter: before dawn this morning, chicago's iconic lake shore drive looked like a ghostly junk yard. mime after mile of cars, trucks and buses, abandon bid their drivers and passengers, trapped in the drifting snow. in this section of lake shore drive, about a mile from downtown, we've come across just hundreds and hundreds of cars, all of them seem abandoned. we've been checking to make sure if anybody's inside, but so far, haven't found anybody. one of the city's major arteries, immobilized as the massive storm hit at the worst possible time. evening rush hour. the blizzard arrived with all the fury of a hurricane. snow thunder and gale-force winds. thousands of drivers and passengers found themselves stuck on the roadway for hours. >> it's been ten hours since
i've been stuck out here. >> reporter: videos posted on youtube provide front row seats to the ordeal. >> my car is covers completely in snow. i don't know if i'll suffocate. i don't know what will happen. >> reporter: throughout the night, hundreds of firefighters, some even on snow mobiles rescued the stranded. carol ann tracy took these pictures inside the bus where she and her mother spent the night. >> we were stuck for nine hours due to the snow. we just couldn't move anywhere. it was a bit, you know, disastrous. >> reporter: we ran into jaco collins, who had returned to reclaim his pickup. he was prepared to wait for hours. >> i'll be all right. i'm good. chocolate covered raisins and miles davis. >> reporter: and after nine hours of trying to drive home, reed frye finally just walked. >> everybody was, you know, just trying to stay huddle in in their car.
a number of people ran out of gas. so, it was not really that fun. >> they just shut down northbound lanes on lake shore drive. >> reporter: so, why did lake shore drive become such a nightmare? >> the number of multiple car accidents occurred on a northbound drive, some of them were very close succession. this caused a large number of motorists and cta buses to become stuck behind and around these accidents. >> reporter: and the weather, bad everywhere in the city, was particularly so along lake michigan. >> with the lake there, you have less friction with the winds coming out of the northeast, so the winds are free to blow more strong than they are over land. >> reporter: as a street of tow trucks today worked to clear the tangled chaos on lake shore drive, elsewhere in chicago, most people were digging out. >> i'm the only one along the whole row here that has a snow blower, which makes me a popular jar. >> reporter: but a brave few embraced the elements.
>> it's one of those runs you do just to say you did it. >> got a flexible heel so you can kind of move around and, you know, going to check out the park and see what's up. >> reporter: over the course of the storm, chicago's o'hare and midway airports canceled more than 2,500 flights. only twice before has chicago endured a bigger wallop. in 1967, 23 inches of snow paralyzed the city. and then, in 1999, 21 inches came down. but this blizzard will be remembered for its violent outbursts. how fierce were the winds here in chicago? >> incredible. that's what sets this storm apart from some of the others which preceded it in the pantheon of chicago storms. we had winds gusting to almost hurricane force. >> reporter: and while the bliss hard has ended, dozens of cars and trucks remain stuck on lake shore drive tonight. chicago's misery is not over just yet. >> we have set the table now for an arctic onslaught. tonight, much of chicagoland
will be well below zero. really uncomfortable and dangerous. >> reporter: the chill to come, a bitter punctuation on what storm so powerful, so reckless, so unsparing, that its haunting images will linger in this city for many years to come. i'm chris bury for "nightline" in chicago. >> and the grimmest statistics are just in. it is feared that seven people in the chicago area were killed in that storm. our thanks to chris bury. and coming up next, the "nightline" interview. a man whose many roams have only added to his shine. a man whose many roams have only added to his shine. we catch up with jeff bridges. affect wheat output in the u.s., the shipping industry in norway, and the rubber industry, in south america? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex global economy. it's just one reason over 80% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence.
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with bill weir. >> little hollywood trivia for you. did you know that jeff bridges turned gown the roles of india jones and travis big until "taxi driver?" that would haunt most act tomorrows but he's not losing any sleep over it. he may be the most well-adjusted six-time nominee in oscar history. you'll see why, as i reunite with the dude in this "nightline" interview. >> hey. >> reporter: all right. >> where are we going? >> reporter: two guys walk into a bar. one of them is one of the most beloved performers of his generation. with a still shiny oscar, a better than decent shot at another, and a sci-fi sequel called ""tron: legacy"" lighting up box offices. but let's back up to when we
first met. bill weir. >> this is the car that -- >> reporter: this was one year ago, back when jeff bridges was still underappreciated. happy to tour under his hometown in a '67 gto. >> there's my name. >> reporter: look at that. jeff was here. >> reporter: he showed us how he used to surf if front lawn of his childhood home. >> it's a big wave, he's got it! >> reporter: it's the home that "sea hunt" built. his dad was the star, his older brother, a striving actor. but jeff rebelled against the family business, considered it a hobby until he was ten films in. over the years, he went from leading man with abs of steel in dulds like "against all olds" to bloated and beloved character work from "the big lebowski" -- >> i'm the dude. >> reporter: to "crazy heart." >> i'm just going to stay bad.
>> reporter: i guess you got to strip away all your personal vanity. >> just a different form of vanity in a way. >> reporter: i suppose. >> look at my beautiful gut, man. >> reporter: and somewhere along that ride, it became clear why people love this guy. >> i'm proud of you. >> thank you, man. thank you. >> reporter: beyond his acting chops, he carries a zen warmth and genuine decency. in a town with too little of both. >> reporter: how long you been married? >> 30 -- we're going on 33 years now. >> reporter: how did you manage to pull that off? strapping hollywood star. one woman for 33 years? >> i fell in love. love at first sight. >> reporter: he carries the proof in his wallet. he was shooting a western in montana, she was a small town girl healing from a car crash and at first, she shot him down. >> first words i uttered to my wife, would you go out with me?
>> n no. and here's the closeup. this is what she looked up. >> reporter: she's gorgeous. >> gorgeous. so, you ask me, how you keep it together, it's having a beauty like that, that helps. >> reporter: thank you. two guys said good-bye that day with no idea they would say hello this week. with so much good karma to discuss. ♪ planned so long ago ♪ i don't know >> reporter: aside from the oscar run, he's about to become a first-time grandpa. he's making a country album. all of this while filling his o onesite with a different kind of artistic expression. >> it's my creativity, you know, when i kind of follow tmuse. if it's saying, you know, make this drawing, i'll kind of, you know, listen to what she has to say -- >> reporter: you don't want to piss off the muse. it helped to have a muse that
gets along with joel and ethan c coen. "true grit" is the first time he worked with them since they made mihm an icon. >> i was wondering what they were going to come up with. when they said, we're going to do "true grit," i said, well, they already made that movie. i couldn't understand why they wanted to do it. and they said, no, it's all about the book, as far as we're concerned. we're not referencing the film at all. and i was relieved to hear that. because i didn't want to have to copy john wayne or anything like that. >> reporter: to play the drunken marshall, he spent weeks pouring over the novel, studying faces in old west photographs and sponging up bits of every day life to apply to the role. what can you come across in 20010 that's going to form a character from the 1860s?
>> well, you think -- i don't drink like rooster, you know, i've certainly been drunk before in my life, and i don't smoke cigarettes like rooster, but i have smoked cigarettes. i know people who do engage in that thing a lot, and i know that makes your voice a little way, that different thing, so, you kind of mess around with that. if i ever meet one of you who says he'll never drink water out of a horse track, i give him a daniel webster cigar. what i loved about rooster, which was very unlike a lot of the western characters you see in movies, you know, being the strong and silent type, he was not too strong, kind of fat, and very verbose, you know? and really a brewer, you know, just talk your ear off. >> reporter: right. >> i liked that aspect of him. >> marshall? it is i, your employer. >> reporter: and on oscar night,
he'll be rooting for the 14-year-old that went toe to toe with rooster. >> you're the brave girl with stories of eldorado. >> reporter: she's going to be around. >> oh, yeah. >> reporter: did you have advice for her? does she need any? >> i didn't give her too much. i think the only advice i gave her was the advice that my mother used to give me. remember, have fun and don't take it too seriously. good chat, man. >> reporter: good to see you again. always fun hanging with you. >> all right. >> words to live by. and jeff is committed to ending childhood hunger in america. and he tells us why in an extended version of that story at abcnews.com. th thanks to the dude. we'll be right back, but first, here's jimmy kimmel with what's up next. >> jimmy: on the show tonight, josh brolin.